The news of the cyberattack on University of Maryland student records led to feelings of shock and apprehension at the Shady Grove campus Thursday afternoon.
The records of students at The Universities at Shady Grove are part of a data security breach that happened this week.
Shady Grove student and Gaithersburg resident Romain Asina was on his way home from work when he received the email from university President Wallace Loh describing how the university fell victim to a “sophisticated computer security attack.”
“I didn’t believe it at first,” said the junior biological sciences major. “This is such an established university. I thought, ‘How does this happen?’”
Loh informed students that everyone affected would receive a free 12 months of credit monitoring, an idea that Asina and other students appreciated, but felt was not enough.
“They should be doing more,” Asina said. “Cyberattacks are becoming popular now. I would expect them to have a whole team dedicated to keeping [our information] safe.”
Ishmael Sankoh, a senior international business major on campus, felt current students shouldn’t worry as much as those who have moved on to bigger things.
“I don’t think there is an interest in the current students, but what about all those people going back to 1998?” Sankoh said. “Most are probably established now with careers and a good living. Their livelihood could be at risk.”
Sankoh said he would sign up for the free credit monitoring.
“Why not just be safe? It’s not the overall solution, but right now, there’s not really much they can do.”
Senior marketing major Brendan Wills was shocked when he heard the news.
“How does a university with these type of resources and as big a name as [the University of Maryland] allow something like this to happen?” said Wills, who also is a resident of Gaithersburg. “Especially since they’re always bragging about their computer engineering program.”
Wills said he plans to sign up for the free 12 months of credit monitoring, but he is skeptical the university will be able to completely clean up the mess.
“It’s a good start,” Wills said. “But there is so much to retrieve, it’s so vast. I don’t see how they will do a 100 percent recovery.”
For Meredith Gray-Grener, a writing teacher at Shady Grove, the security breach came as no surprise.
“I’ve seen it happen to so many universities,” Gray-Grener said. “Having applied to jobs at other universities, I’ve received emails telling me that the employment information had been compromised. It’s not a surprise to me, but it is disappointing.”
Gray-Grener said last year that her husband, who also works at a university, had his identity stolen.
“It makes me wonder if universities are really doing as much as they can.”